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SMS Equipment marks 15 years serving Alberta’s roadbuilding and heavy construction industry

December 18, 2023
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In 2008, three Canadian heavy equipment companies joined forces to bring multiple industry segments under one roof. Through the amalgamation, SMS Equipment Inc. was born. Combining more than 120 years of experience, the company set out to serve customers more effectively and efficiently with its new, coast-to-coast, holistic offering.

Now, as the company celebrates its 15th anniversary, SMS Equipment is recognized as one of the top heavy equipment dealers in the country and the largest independent Komatsu dealer globally. It is a one-stop equipment solution provider for the construction, road construction, mining and forestry industries, delivering advanced digital technologies, product support and state-of-the-art equipment from manufacturer partners including BOMAG, Takeuchi, NPK, Genesis and more.

“Our founders saw an opportunity to serve customers differently,” says David Liptrot, General Manager of Strategic Accounts at SMS Equipment. “By combining category expertise, innovative ideas and geographies, we could better reflect how our customers worked across industries and specialties.”

“As we celebrate SMS Equipment’s 15th anniversary, we continue to adapt to our customers’ needs,” he adds. “Our partners in the roadbuilding and heavy construction industry have unique and diverse business goals. We’re the value-added partner to help meet them.”

Diverse solutions for a diverse industry

The key to being a value-added partner, notes Liptrot, is offering a broad range of products and services to meet customers’ unique needs. For SMS Equipment, these include:

  • Reliable equipment that can withstand the harshest conditions, whether new, remanufactured or rented;
  • Technology solutions that can centralize critical tasks and improve the bottom line, such as machine-controlled and telematic;
  • Customized equipment management service and maintenance programs that maximize uptime;
  • On-site field services performed by certified heavy equipment technicians who are trained on all the latest equipment;
  • Hybrid and electric-powered equipment options that help customers meet their decarbonization goals; and,
  • Flexible financing and rent-to-purchase solutions that ensure both customers’ budget needs are supported.

Staying ahead of the innovation curve has also proven a key to SMS Equipment’s success.

“Our partners have developed incredible technology in smart construction, autonomous operation, telematics, fleet management and operator awareness,” says Liptrot. “Advanced solutions are available to support the growing industry need for remote solutions, data analytics and decarbonization. And it’s just the beginning.”

A people-first approach

Fulfilling a vision to be the number one equipment and solutions provider isn’t just about the tools and technology – it’s also about the people.

Headquartered in Acheson, Alberta, SMS Equipment employs more than 2,600 associates across 40+ locations in Canada, Alaska and Mongolia. Finding, hiring and retaining skilled workers across that geographic footprint – especially in a labour shortage – is critical.

“With a group of diversely experienced employees, including more than 1,500 industry-certified and skilled tradespersons, SMS Equipment’s success depends on the employees at every level of the company,” says Liptrot. “Our people-first leadership philosophy supports our strong company culture, approach to developing talent from within and, ultimately, our employees.”

Corporate values of safety, respect, performance, authenticity and innovation form the foundation for SMS Equipment’s operations.

“We care for each other, without exception,” adds Liptrot, noting the company’s robust health and safety culture and protocols.

Building and maintaining teams in a labour shortage also takes a bit of creativity – a challenge that SMS Equipment has faced head-on. Drawing from their experience of working with polytechnic schools to promote careers in the trades, last fall the company partnered with Keyano College and the Fort McMurray First Nation to create the Heavy Equipment Technician Pre-Employment Program. This unique model supports cohorts of heavy equipment technicians through their apprenticeship program and into their first years of employment, creating a funnel for skilled labour for the region while directly benefiting the community’s economy.

Connecting with the community

Whether aiming to be an employer of choice or a supply partner of choice, Liptrot notes that active involvement in the local business community is key.

“Our membership with the Alberta Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association has been invaluable,” he says. “We’ve built a diverse set of contacts, customers and partners. We continue to learn about industry trends, safety protocols and more. The Equipment Rental Rate Guide and Membership Listing has also been a great resource for us both connecting with like-minded businesses and directing leads our way.”

“Any anniversary gives us an opportunity to look back while looking ahead,” concludes Liptrot. “We look forward to the next 15 years of partnering with our industry colleagues to make roadbuilding and heavy construction more efficient, more productive, more sustainable and more profitable.”
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